Measuring Up the Current Posture of Prisons in the Country of Georgia Vis‐Avis Prisons in the United States and More Particularly in the State of Florida

Mark Speiser


I have served as an elected Circuit Court Judge in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida for the past 36 years. This region is the second largest residential area in the state with a population of 1.6 million people and is known as the 17th Judicial Circuit. For a number of years I have been assigned to the Criminal Felony Division presiding over felony cases meaning that if the accused is convicted following a jury trial, I am empowered to either place the defendant on probation, community control (house arrest), or alternatively sentence the defendant to prison for a term in excess of one year up to life. In certain instances, if the defendant is convicted of capital fi rst degree murder I can impose a sentence of either life in prison or death. Florida is one of 35 states in the United States that permits imposition of the death penalty. Florida has the third largest prison population (approximately 100,000 inmates) in the United States and the judicial circuit where I preside annually sends the second largest number of prisoners to state prison. Needless to say the region where I preside as a judge experiences a very high crime rate.


Court, Population, Penalty

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